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Ready, set, go! A few thoughts from a camp mom

A few thoughts for Camp Parents from a former camper, counselor, and camp Mom.

Well, you’ve done it! Your friends and family can hardly believe you are sending your precious child to camp for four whole weeks!  I know something you already know in your heart–this is Melissa, Hannah, M-K and Erin at Cypress Hollow last summerone of the best decisions you will ever make in the life of your child!  You are giving her roots and wings, and here are a few ideas about how to get started being a great camp parent.

First get to that checklist in CampInTouch, it is really handy! Take advantage of it.


Melissa, Hannah, M-K and Erin at Cypress Hollow last summer.

Go ahead and make that doctor’s appointment, and if she plays school sports, take in the athletic form with your camp physical form and you have two forms filled out at once, and make a copy of your shot records for each.  Done, and feel relieved, it is a nightmare to try and do that last minute!

As shorts start showing up in stores, start looking for whites; I know there are always white shorts for sale, except when you have to have them, then they are hard to find!  Trading Post at camp is your best resource for all clothes camp, but your daughter will have opinions about shorts, especially white ones, so keep your eyes open.

Order stamps, iron-on labels, stickers or get sharpies and start writing her name on everything!  I am not exaggerating, everything!  That is the only way she and her counselor and tepee mates will know the odd sock, shoe, brush, etc. belongs to her.  There are lots of companies online that offer cute labels in every different configuration for all of her things.  This takes some time to order, receive and then apply to her things, so start early!

Take an afternoon to create, order or shop for some fun stationery, and print labels for all of the people she might want to write. Avery labels are easy, and a page or two is more than enough.  Remember grandparents and other family members, they might even write back to her! Our girls were great at writing home some years, and not so great other years.  The first year, we were thrilled to get a letter or two, so don’t worry if you don’t get too much mail!  You will get to watch for pictures online, which is really fun; you get a great idea of what they are up to, and get to see those happy faces!

If you are truly worried, or have questions, just give the office a call. They can let you know how she is doing!  Don’t forget to set up your phone call (four-week campers only) through CampInTouch, that is when you can hear her voice, and know she is truly having fun!  If you are not good at writing letters, you can e-mail, you just set it up on the web site.  However do not underestimate the power of receiving mail at camp!  Write a short note, send little gifts they can use, or things they forgot.  Mail is delivered after lunch, right as they go to siesta, and is much anticipated!  Care packages can even be ordered from different companies online and personalized with things your daughter might like.  No, you cannot send food, candy or gum. Packages are inspected, so save those goodies for when you pick her up.

Drop-off is a wonderful morning, get to camp early and enjoy it with your daughter!  You can park across the road before they open the gates and meet and greet other campers, then at the appointed hour the gates open and the staff sings you onto camp!  Then you go to the Village, check in, turn in any paperwork you may still have, turn in any medicines to the nurse, and finally get her tepee assignment.  You will then get her gear and move in.  After she is settled you may want to stay and eat lunch with her, or say your goodbyes and let her begin the experience.

Hanging around is not a great idea, make sure she knows she has everything, and if you have forgotten something you can mail it, then give her a big hug and a kiss and get back on

Melissa, Hannah, M-K and Erin at Cypress Hollow last summer

the road.  This is it, they are very well taken care of, and you can go with confidence!  Things get going very quickly, so they won’t be thinking about you, they will be signing up for classes, and making new friends! The term has begun!

Camp for my family, The Heart has been a multigenerational experience.  We have all loved it and benefited from it.  You are giving your daughter an experience that cannot be found anywhere else.  She will make friends that she will have for a lifetime and she will grow immeasurably!

The Heart is a gift you give your daughter.  I believe you give her roots because she will be grounded in confidence and know she can accomplish what she is willing to work hard for. She will learn to be thoughtful and aware of others and her surroundings. She will know she is loved so that she can truly fly.  What better can we do for our children?  Enjoy the experience!

Editor’s Note: Melissa Osmun Kearney teaches Kindergarten before and after being a stay-at-home mom for her daughters and one son. Melissa’s two aunts attended The Heart (Judy and Elaine Osmun), as did her sister and niece (Carrie Osmun Pearson and Katelynn Pearson) and daughters, (Hannah, Mary-Katherine, and Erin Kearney). Among the girls in the clan, there are five Chieftains, four war canoe sterns, and five Jo Jones Sportsmanship Award recipients! Jane–

About the Author

Jane Ragsdale

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Jane Ragsdale (Mrs. Dick Howell) is the director of Heart O’ the Hills. She was a Heart camper and counselor, and served as program director from 1978-87. She has been one of the owners since 1976, and director since 1988.

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